With over 80% of consumers today using search engines to find businesses in their local areas, it’s safe to say potential patients are using this same method to search for local dentists. Google dominates the local search arena, maintaining a leading position with more than 65% of the search engine market. With the rapid proliferation of smartphones, a patient’s access to instant local information is only going to grow.
How do new patients search for you online? What information (if any) is showing up when a person searches for your name or for a dentist in your area? How can you ensure your practice is portrayed positively in front of potential patients who are looking online for a dentist?
The typical searcher
Imagine this– A new family moves into your town (we’ll call it South Melbourne). The family needs a new dentist. Family members go online, type “South Melbourne dentist,” and click search. Google then returns the most relevant search results for those keywords.
The results at the top of the page will be the practices with websites optimized for those search terms. If you don’t have a website, then the probability of your practice showing up on the first, second, third, or any page at all, is extremely low. It needs to be optimized for top placement in the search result listings if you do have a website. Otherwise, getting found by new patients among your local competitors will be challenging.
At the very least start with a professional practice website if you do anything at all to establish your online presence. This should be the hub of your Internet marketing strategy and is the best way to claim your space on the web.
Start off the new year with a plan. Find a website provider who specializes in dental online marketing and start getting new patients from the most powerful marketing strategy available.
If you don’t have a website, the results that display on the first page may not favorably reflect your practice. That’s because even if you don’t dabble in the online world, directories and review sites will compile the best information they can find about your practice to create your listing, whether it’s accurate or not.
There’s the person that heard about your practice through word-of-mouth. Your existing patient recommends the person to your practice. A person spots your practice information on the friend’s Facebook profile. Maybe a person receives a postcard in the mail about your practice. This person will search online for your name (e.g., Dr. Victor Selers) or your practice name (e.g., Vicor Selers, DDS). In this case, information about you or your practice is going to appear in the search results whether you have a website or not.
Bottom line– it’s 2017 and you can not afford to turn away from the power of local search. The ever-growing trend is that more patients are turning to the Internet to find dental care providers and answers to their health-care questions.
Making your web presence a reality may seem like a lot of work, but the return is well worth your efforts. In coming years, online search will only grow as more patients turn to their home and work computers, mobile phones, social media, and other online channels for local health care information.
As a result, negative patient reviews, false information, and other misrepresentations of your practice will appear at the top of the results page. This will give the referred patient a first (and potentially harmful) impression of your practice.
Tell your story and tell it well – dentists try their hardest to ensure that you walk away happy
You will want to optimize it for the search engines once you have developed and launched your website. Your search marketing plan should include best practice search engine optimization and a claimed Google Place Page
to achieve optimal visibility.
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You can expand your presence and reach by connecting with patients through a variety of online avenues. This should include setting up social media profiles such as Facebook, contributing to your blog, and asking your most loyal patients for online reviews. These social channels can be integrated with your website, keeping your practice connected with existing patients and driving referrals to your practice through word-of-mouth.